Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cousin and Athlete Art Handler

More from "The Mishpacha Tape Helen and Esther 1988," which can be found on YouTube.

Esther and Helen
At about 38 minutes into this video, Helen talks about Art Handler, son of Sam Handler and Sadie (Herskovitz) Handler. This Art Handler is a first cousin to my father-in-law, as well as first cousin to Helen and Esther.

In the video, Helen states that "Art aspired to be a basketball player and was very, very good. He played...semi-professionally...and they wanted to send him to school on a scholarship and he would have gotten a scholarship to college for basketball...but Aunt Sadie and Uncle Sam didn't want him to do that. For some reason or other he let them talk him out of that...They didn't want him to do basketball...They wanted him to take over Uncle Sam's business."

I have another Handler cousin who found my blog a couple of years ago and after my last post mentioning this video, he sent me an email noting that there are quite a few details that are not correct (which I already knew). Specifically, he provided clarification on the above story about Art Handler, who was his Uncle Art:
The story about Art Handler is not accurate. He was a baseball player and was a bat boy for the Cleveland Indians. When Sam and Sadie found out, they stopped him. That is the semi-professional playing they talk about, (The Arthur that is Sam and Sadie Handler’s son) while he was still in high school. The story I heard, is that after school, they locked him in the basement so he wouldn’t go to that job. And, he could not get any scholarship because he disappeared from that world. When I later asked Art about that, he didn’t want to talk about it. In any case, he never got to play professionally, which he wanted to do. He was a good athlete and he played pick-up basketball (that is why they thought he was involved with basketball). He played on a senior team until he was an old man and couldn’t play anymore. He ended up doing what he did at the pop factory, delivering to grocery stores - but when the pop factory closed, he got a job delivering potato chips and related snacks and did that for his career. [Thank you to Alan Simon for this story.]

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rose Handler ~ An Older Sister

Another interesting piece of information that I learned from the video interview of Helen Solomon and Esther Goldstein was that their mother, Regina (Handler) Solomon, had an older sister in addition to her older brothers, Sam and Joseph.

Cousin Helen reports that her mother, Regina, remembers her father as an old man with a long white beard (her description begins here) and that he died when Regina was four years old. Just after that statement, Helen answers a question about who was the oldest of Regina's siblings here, reporting that the oldest Handler sibling was sister, Rose, who was twelve years older than Regina.

It looks like the family of Aaron Handler and his second wife, Sarah (Sally) looked like:

Rose Handler, born about 1879 or 1880
Joseph Handler, born 1884 (see his draft cards here)
Sam Handler, born 1887 (see his draft cards here)
Regina Handler, born in February 1891 or 1892

If Regina was four years old when her father died, Aaron Handler died in 1895 or 1896.

Rose Handler married and remained in Europe (don't know where). Helen remembers that her children were Aaron or Arthur (likely named after her deceased father), Margaret, and other sons. None of this family came to America and as far as we know, they died in the Holocaust.

Regina (Handler) Solomon and Jake Solomon

Monday, December 22, 2014

Great-Grandmother Sarah or Sally Handler

At Connecting with a Handler Cousin, I shared the link to a 1988 video interview that my husband's second cousin did with his aunts, my father-in-law's cousins Esther and Helen Solomon.

At about 18:45 minutes in, the sisters start talking about their mother's father, Aaron Handler. Their mother's name was Regina (younger sister to Sam and Joseph Handler). According to Helen, her grandfather, Aaron Handler, was a wealthy farmer who owned a large farm. He had four sons with his first wife, whose name they don't know. The sisters share a little bit of what they remember of these older sons of Aaron (Herman, Leopold, Philip, and "the one who made his career in the service").

After taking a brief break, the video interview continues and it comes out that after Aaron's first wife died, he married his brother's daughter: his niece, whose name is Sarah Handler, as remembered by Helen and Esther. They don't know Sarah's father's name.

I have written about this great-grandmother of my husband's before at: Finding A Jewish Great Grandmother (which includes her death certificate) and Great-Grandmother Handler Married Twice. And at one of my favorite blog posts: Passenger Lists...And Following Up on Family Stories.

JewishGen's JOWBR (JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry) has a record for Sally Handler, buried in Lansing Avenue Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. With some additional digging, I found that she is buried in row 15 of the Knesseth Israel section of the cemetery and I'm hoping someone will fulfill the FindAGrave photo request I have made.

JewishGen has this cemetery in its index and the record for "Sally Handler" indicates that her tombstone reads: "Chaya Sara bat Zvi."

If this is correct (and I'd love to see the tombstone to be sure), then Zvi Handler is brother of Aaron Handler and father of Sarah / Sally Handler.

Another interesting thing to think about: In looking up the given name Zvi at JewishGen's Given Names Database (for Hungary), the U.S. equivalent is Herman or Harry.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Rebecca Levitt

Rebecca (Neminroff) Levitt was the first wife of David Levitt, a son of Max Levitt and his first wife. (David was a half brother to Rose (Levitt) Goldstein, my husband's grandmother.) Rebecca is the only person I have in my genealogy database who died during the 1918 influenza epidemic. She left her husband and three young daughters.

She is buried in Har Jehuda Cemetery, Upper Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy FindAGrave.com volunteer Sheila Peascheck

Beloved Wife
And Mother
Rebecca Levitt
Died Oct. 7, 1918
Aged 35 Years
Photo courtesy FindAGrave.com volunteer Sheila Peascheck

The Hebrew is roughly translated as:
Here lies
My dear/beloved wife
Mrs. Rivka daughter of
Yerachmiel died
On the first of the month of Cheshvan
5679. May her soul be bound up in the bond of eternal life.

Translation help is from the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page and JewishGen's How to Read a Hebrew Tombstone.

Her FindAGrave memorial can be found here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Connecting with a Handler Cousin ~ Blog as Cousin Bait

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to discuss family and think about those family who are no longer with us. When I opened my email the day after Thanksgiving this year, I found an email from a second cousin of my husband's who did just that. Gary has been making video recordings of family members for almost 30 years, knowing that they would be interesting to family members. He wrote: "I figured that either someday I would have the time to start exploring our history based on these histories or perhaps my kids or grandkids would." After watching one of his older videos (which my husband and I have now watched - it's a treasure), he thought he would search on the Internet for some of the information mentioned by his aunts in the video.

Well, up comes my blog with a good bit of family information about Handler ancestors and relatives in Ohio. He and I started an email conversation and this past weekend, enjoyed a Google chat with our respective spouses.

Sisters Esther and Helen
Well, the treasure can be found at YouTube in a two and a half hour video called: "Mishpacha Tape Helen and Esther 1988." Gary's aunt Helen and aunt Esther are first cousins of my father-in-law; their brother, Gary's dad, Morton, died at age 44 in 1972. All these cousins were born in Ohio to Regina (Handler) and Jake Solomon.

Just mentioning these aunts to my mother-in-law reminded her that my father-in-law introduced Morton (who lived in Cleveland) to Gary's mother (who lived in Akron, in an apartment in the Handler home). Gary's mother is still living and was visiting for Thanksgiving. She was thrilled that we connected online!

Some of the information about the family that Helen and Esther talk about in this video is new to me (including several photographs shared near the end); some information reinforces what I already knew; and some is in error. For example, they say that their cousin Margaret Handler was born in Hungary, as well as her older brother Arthur. However, passenger lists show otherwise.

I will share some new findings about the Handlers that I found in this video in future blog posts. I thank Gary for taking this video almost 27 years ago and sharing it at YouTube. I especially thank him for contacting me and look forward to seeing photographs that I haven't seen before!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Connecting with a Segal Cousin

In late October, I was contacted by user of Family Tree DNA, suggesting that there was a strong DNA connection between us. Since she mentioned the Segal surname, I knew it would be a match with my mother-in-law and my husband.

I'm still getting used to exploring the chromosome browser and there are several chromosome matches to my mother-in-law, but fewer with my husband. The match that is the same is on chromosome 21.

After several emails, and inviting each other to view our respective Ancestry.com online trees, we think that her second great-grandmother, Henda Segal Gershman was a sister of my husband's second great-grandfather, Simche Segal/Siegel.

Amazingly enough, although the immigrant Segals settled in Philadelphia and Woodbine, New Jersey, this new-found fourth cousin lives in the town next to ours in Massachusetts. We met for a couple of hours the night before Thanksgiving to share pictures and talk family history. I do see a similarity in some of the Segals in the first couple of generations.

The other helpful thing is that Henda Segal and her husband Louis Gershman had six children (five daughters and a son) and my mother-in-law remembers those sisters who lived in Woodbine; she remembers that they were cousins on the Segal side, but was never clear on exactly how they were cousins. It was a pleasure to confirm for her that those sisters were first cousins to her grandmother, Golda (her photo at right).

I have blogged about Simche Segal's gravestone translation. I also have images of his passenger lists. I blogged about him and his family in census records here and here. I have also shared his 1919 death certificate.

Below is an attempt to graphically display the generations descended from the unknown third great grandparents.

Unknown parents (father possibly Yehuda)
|                                          |
Simche Segal                  Henda Segal Gershman
|                                          |
Golda Segal Levitt                      Sadie Gershman Seltzer
|                                          |
Rose Levitt Goldstein                       Annie Seltzer Walowitz
|                                          |
Mother-in-law                    New-found 3rd cousin
|                                          |
Husband                       New-found 4th cousin

Simche Segal's gravestone indicates his father's name is Yehuda; his death certificate indicates his father's name is Israel. (I'm inclined to believe the gravestone.) Henda (Segal) Gershman died in 1909. Her death certificate indicates "unknown" for her father's name. She is buried at Har Nebo Cemetery in Philadelphia and I am looking forward to seeing if the Hebrew on her gravestone can confirm a father's name of Yehuda.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday ~ George and Elizabeth Levitt

George Levitt was the oldest full brother of Rose Levitt, my husband's maternal grandmother. I have written a little bit about him previously.

Photo courtesy FindAGrave contributor, Mark Barnett (48059838).

George and his wife Elizabeth (also known as Betty) are buried in Montefiore Cemetery, Jenkintown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where I have recently discovered that many of my mother-in-law's extended family are buried.

The Hebrew above George's name can be roughly translated as Yuda (aka Yehuda) Leib son of Mordecai. Again, I thank the members of the Tracing the Tribe Facebook page for assistance with this translation.

George's father, Mordecai, was also known as Max Levitt, and I shared his gravestone very early on in this blog.

The Hebrew above Elizabeth's name is Leah daughter of Gershon. I wrote about her mother's naturalization here.

George Levitt's FindAGrave memorial is here. Elizabeth Levitt's FindAGrave memorial is here.